Shakira, the world-famous singer/songwriter and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, has long been a passionate advocate for children and children’s issues.

Video: Shakira and Gerard Piqué's virtual baby shower

This month marks an especially joyous occasion for the 35-year-old Colombian singer and her partner FC Barcelona star Gerard Piqué: the imminent arrival of their own first child.

An innovative baby shower

To share in their joy and honor their son, Shakira and Gerard have come up with a very special idea for their global community of friends and fans: a virtual baby shower. In a joint statement, the couple writes: “Dear Friends, Having our first baby is such an incredibly happy time for us. That’s why we want to invite you to our baby shower…with a twist. Rather than asking you to give gifts to our new baby, we’re asking you to honour him by supporting UNICEF in giving underprivileged babies around the globe a healthy start in life. It would really mean a lot to us.”

Life-saving gifts

The virtual baby shower, which launched on 15 January 2013, invites fans into Shakira and Gerard’s virtual living room. Using innovative social media tools, fans are just a click away from learning about child survival issues and finding out how to purchase one of the five suggested ‘Inspired Gifts’ to give children a healthy start into life.

“You can choose an Inspired Gift from our registry – to give the gift of immunizations so more babies grow up healthy and disease free, rehydration salts to save children’s lives and therapeutic food so babies will get enough to eat,” the couple writes. “Every expectant parent around the world shares all the same hopes and dreams for their children that we do. Yet, many don’t share the same opportunities. Together, we know that we can change that.”

All of UNICEF’s Inspired Gifts are life-saving items distributed to the poorest and most vulnerable children around the world. For as little as US$5, a donor can buy a mosquito net to help a sleeping child stay safe from malaria, one of the leading causes of child death worldwide. For US$10, a donor can purchase polio vaccines to protect 17 children from contracting the devastating viral infection. The purchase of a US$37 baby scale will help monitor a child’s growth and check for signs of possible malnutrition, and a donation of US$110 will buy live-saving therapeutic food, a peanut-based paste that can save an acutely malnourished child.

These gifts will go a long way in helping some of the most underprivileged children in the world. Each day, an estimated 19,000 children under the age of 5 die from largely preventable causes. And while child mortality is on the decline, 6.9 million children still died in 2011 alone.

Unique collaboration, unique opportunity

Since becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2003, Shakira has travelled the globe to help children in need. She has advocated for issues ranging from educating and empowering girls to break the cycle of poverty and inequality in India to participating in a march against violence in El Salvador. In Azerbaijan, she encouraged teenage footballers to empower their lives by seeking continued education and inspire their peers. When a cyclone hit Bangladesh, she visited the country to help raise awareness of the impact the natural disaster was having on local communities. And in Spain, she helped launch the Unite for Children Against AIDS campaign.

Given Shakira’s commitment to children, it comes as no surprise that she and Gerard have created this unique opportunity for their fans not only to honor their first child but also to participate in helping children around the world.

"I believe that I have to use the resources provided by my artistic career in order to tell people about real problems in the real world, and I know that I have to contribute to the search for real solutions," she said. “I’m sure that our planet will be a better place if each one of us will take responsibility for the needs of others.”

By welcoming guests to their virtual living room with a personal video message and even recognizing their most active fans personally, they are not only taking social media to a new level of engagement and displaying its infinite possibilities, but also demonstrating how each individual can take responsibility for the needs of others and has the opportunity to do good – one click at a time.

If you would like to participate, click here.

Source: UNICEF

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